Cause and Effect: Character Involvement

2 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT work independently to identify the cause and effect events and character involvement in the beginning, middle, and end of the literary text.

Big Idea

In this lesson your students are given the opportunity to demonstrate that they know what cause and effect is and how the character is involved.


As my students continue to gain practice in meeting the rigorous requirements of the College and Career Reading Standards for Reading the focus of this lesson is RL.1.3: describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key ideas.

Lesson Overview:

After three days of introductory lessons I wanted to see how independent my students could be and if they really understood the concept that the characters and story events are related through cause and effect. 


  • Houghton Mifflin Reading Theme 1: All Together Now, Big Pig by David McPhail
  • Houghton Mifflin Reading Theme 1: All Together Now, Charles Tiger, by Siobhan Dodds
  • Houghton Mifflin Reading Theme 1: All Together Now, The Big Hit, by Angela Shelf Medearis
    • If your district does not use HM try: A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon, or, The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash, by Trinka Hakes Noble
  • Cause and Effect Activity Sheet (teacher created)


5 minutes

I began this lesson by having my students’ review who the characters were in both Charles Tiger and The Big Hit.  I then asked my students for some causes and effects in each story.  After a moment of think time, I used the magic cup (Demonstration: Magic Cup) to select two students to answer these questions for the class.  These two students shared that the cause and effect in Charles Tiger were: when he woke up without his roar he looked for it; in The Big Hit: the cause and effect were the dog caught the ball and ran with it.  As these two shared out the rest of the class agreed by showing me a thumb up (Demonstration: Thumb Up, Thumb Down).  Wanting to make sure my students understood the relationship, I asked: “What was it called when Charles looked for his roar, or Tip ran off with the ball?”  Without waiting my students called out, “Effect!”  I reminded my students that they did such a great job earlier this week identifying the characters and the cause and effects, and that we were going to continue today.  (I got unexpected cheers from this)

Guided Practice

15 minutes

I then instructed my students to open their anthology books to Big Pig.  Before giving them their instructions I gave them a moment to look at the title page and pictures in the story.  When they finished looking at the pictures I gave them a moment to share with their table partner what they thought the story will be about.  (Both of these activities help familiarize students to the story). 

After my little ones reviewed the story practice sentences, I instructed them as they read the story they were to think about what happens in the story and why, noting cause and effect events. 

From there I used the magic cup to select students to read 2 or 3 pages.  When my students are reading a literary text for the first time, I like to hear as many students read as possible to monitor their reading skills, following a long, and their listening skills.  It also helps me pace my lesson planning.

When we finished reading I used the magic cup to select 3 students to retell what happened in the beginning, middle, and end of the story.  Once they finished retelling it was time to transition to the collaborative part of the lesson.

Whole Group Activity

15 minutes

To begin this part of the lesson I displayed the Cause and Effect Activity Sheet, and explained they would work by themselves to re-read the story, if needed, and identify the cause and effect events of each section of the story.  I also told them to note the characters in each section.  

I checked for understanding by asking my students what they were going to record.  The class answered back they were going to record cause and effect events on their Cause and Effect Activity Sheet

I then set the timer for ten minutes and pulled my beginning readers to read with me.  I wanted my students to show me what they could do on their own, however, this Beginning Group is not quite reading independently, nor do they have the fluency to fully comprehend what they are reading.  Pulling these students gives them more practice reading time with me and  the opportunity to finish their work, as seen in this sample Beginning Student Work Sample.  While this group worked with me the rest of the class finished their work.  When the timer went off, I reminded my students they should be almost finished with their work and set the timer for another 5 minutes.  This time, when the timer went off, I had my students re-group and called their attention to the displayed Cause and Effect activity sheet.  Using the magic cup I called on 3 students to share with the class what they wrote in each section of the activity sheet.  As these students shared I wrote their answers on the Promethean board and instructed all my students to make sure they had similar answers.

This example of a Proficient Student Work Sample demonstrates the neatness and completeness First graders are capable of.

When we finished this activity we moved into our independent part of the lesson.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

During this time I have my students divided in leveled reading groups where they rotate every 15 to 20 minutes through ELA activities.  One of these activities is journal writing.  I believe journal writing helps students develop their independence in all subject areas because it allows them to think about and express in their own words what they just learned about.

The prompt I put on the Promethean board: In your own words tell who the characters are in Big Pig and identify one cause and effect event. 

When my students rotate to my differentiated reading group, I check their journals for completeness and understanding.  In both Proficient Student Journal Sample 1 and Proficient Student Journal Sample 2 each student demonstrated they were able to write to the prompt, as well as identify the characters and at least one cause and effect event. 

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

For a sticker, my students told me how the characters and the cause and effect events made this story more interesting.